A Master of Arts Thesis in Translation and Interpreting (Arabic / English) by Fatima Sultan Al Owais Entitled, "Ajaaj and National Identity: A Comic Book with a Serious Mission," October 2009. Available are both Hard and Soft Copies of the Thesis.
Translation is often influenced by its social, political and cultural context. These factors soon begin to define the very concept of translation, its role, directions and traditions down to the strategies adopted by the translators to fulfill the purpose of a given text. A great many of the studies in that area have focused entirely on the manipulation that often results from this controversial relationship. However, there is an increasing interest nowadays in looking at the more benign implications of this relationship on the role of translation. This thesis examines the role of translation as an intervention, i.e., a means to resolve socio-political problems and achieve representational justice. The study focuses on the case of the UAE and how translation began to be seen as part of the solutions for the socio-political challenges that are posed by the unique diversity of its population and the misrepresentation of its culture abroad. The resulting paralysis of some of the most fundamental functions of the Emirati national identity has highlighted the role that translation can play in overcoming these challenges. The translation of the Emirati comic book, Ajaaj, which was created by the Watani social development program for this purpose, is examined to see the degree to which this particular vision of translation has influenced the strategies adopted by the translator. It appears that translation strategies and decision-making are influenced by the translator/translation project's conception of the role of translation within the spatial and temporal context and an understanding of the purpose of a given translation within this context. In the case of the Emirati comic book, achieving the purpose of the translation seemed to be the main factor playing a role in the translator's decisions. Against common expectations, the cultural message has necessitated a certain commitment to the target culture's expectations, especially with regard to language and form.